The Skeptics Society & Skeptic magazine


Adam Levin on Identity Theft and How to Protect Yourself from Scammers, Phishers, and Fraudsters of All Types

Increasingly, identity theft is a fact of life: from fake companies selling “credit card insurance”; criminal, medical, and child identity theft; catphishers, tax fraud, fake debt collectors who threaten you with legal action; and much more. We might once have hoped to protect ourselves from hackers with airtight passwords and aggressive spam filters, and those are good ideas as far as they go. But with the breaches of huge organizations like Target,, JPMorgan Chase, Sony, Anthem, and even the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, more than a billion personal records have already been stolen, and chances are good that you’re already in harm’s way. This doesn’t mean there’s no hope. Your identity may get stolen, but it doesn’t have to be a life-changing event. In this conversation, Shermer speaks with Adam Levin, a consumer advocate with more than 30 years’ experience in personal finance, privacy, real estate and government service. A former director of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, Levin is Chairman and founder of Identity Theft 911. A longtime consumer advocate and identity fraud expert, Levin provides a method to help you keep hackers, phishers, and spammers from becoming your problem. As Levin shows, these folks get a lot less scary if you see them coming.

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A Voyage from Istanbul to Antalya with Archaeologists Dr. Nicolle Hirschfeld and Dr. Rebecca Ingram Aboard the Privately-Chartered 34-Guest Callisto

Dear Friends, I am pleased to invite you on a truly unique journey. Scheduled to operate in October 2022, the trip will hug the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts of Turkey, visiting several important sites that have helped establish the historical value of shipwreck archaeology. Starting in Istanbul, the fabled Constantinople, we will visit monuments from the city’s Byzantine and Ottoman periods, including Aghia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, and Topkapı Palace. In Istanbul, we will board Callisto, and after sailing in the Sea of Marmara and entering the narrow strait of the Dardanelles, we will explore storied Troy, famed in antiquity for its wealth and as the site of the legendary Trojan War. Continuing along the Aegean Sea coast of Turkey, we will dock in Küşadası, our base for exploring the remains of Ephesus, undoubtedly one of the world’s great archaeological sites.

Savings for Solo Travelers

We are waiving the Supplement for Solo Travelers on a limited number of cabins available for single occupancy at no additional charge. Availability is very limited. Register ASAP.

Next comes Bodrum, which is home to the superb Museum of Underwater Archaeology. We will visit both the Museum and the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) Center, where we will get a behind-the-scenes tour of ongoing artifact conservation. From Bodrum we follow in the footsteps of the Knights of St. John to the Greek island of Rhodes with its awe-inspiring medieval fortifications. Returning to the Turkish coast, we will call at Fethiye for a visit to the great Lycian city of Xanthus, and then sail past Uluburun, where archaeologist Dr. Nicolle Hirschfeld helped excavate the dazzling royal cargo transported aboard a Late Bronze Age shipwreck. After lovely Kekova, a fjord-like waterway, the ship will navigate to the bustling port city of Antalya, where our journey will end. We are fortunate to have as lecturers two expert archaeologists, Dr. Nicolle Hirschfeld, Professor of Classical Studies at Trinity University, and Dr. Rebecca Ingram, Curator of Exhibits and Collections at the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History. Their archaeological field experience, lectures, and discussions will illuminate the history and significance of the places we will visit. I hope you will join this exciting adventure!

With warm regards, Dr. Michael Shermer

Executive Director, Skeptics Society

7% of your cruise fee will be a tax-deductible donation to The Skeptics Society — a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


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Nicolle Hirschfeld

Dr. Nicolle Hirschfeld is a Professor of Classical Studies at Trinity University in San Antonio and an Institute oof Nautical Archaeology (INA) Affiliated Scholar. She has excavated at sites throughout the eastern Mediterranean, including the Late Bronze Age shipwreck at Uluburun, and dug through museum basements all over Europe, looking especially for material evidence of interactions among the different cultures of Late Bronze Age Greece, Anatolia, Cyprus, and Egypt. In 2010, she joined INA Founder George Bass to work at Cape Gelidonya, 50 years after the original season. Other special interests include potmarks (ancient barcodes), the scripts of ancient Cyprus, and seafaring in the ancient Mediterranean.

Rebecca Ingram

Dr. Rebecca Ingram is Curator of Exhibits and Collections at the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History in Texas and Editorial Assistant of the American Journal of Archaeology. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University, and spent four years helping to excavate 8 of the 37 shipwrecks found in the Byzantine harbor at Yenikapı, Turkey. Rebecca also assisted with the recording of an Ottoman galley in the Istanbul Naval Museum. She has traveled and lectured widely around the eastern Mediterranean and is particularly interested in the development of shipbuilding technology during the first millennium A.D.

Aghia Sophia, Instabul, Turkey



Saturday, October 8, 2022 ARRIVE IN ISTANBUL

Founded by Greeks in the 7th century BC and named Byzantion, in AD 324, Emperor Constantine made the city the capital of the Roman Empire and named it after himself, Constantinople. For over 1,000 years, it was the capital of the Byzantine Empire and the most resplendent city in Europe, and from the mid-15th century, the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Upon arrival in Istanbul, transfer to the historic Pera Palace Hotel. In the evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at a local restaurant. Meals: D


Sunday, October 9 ISTANBUL, Turkey

In the morning, tour Istanbul’s major monuments from the Byzantine period, including the fabled walls and the great palace of the emperors; the Hippodrome; the underground Basilica Cistern; and the incomparable Aghia Sophia, the Church of Divine Wisdom, built by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, visit the Blue Mosque and Ottoman galleys in the Naval Museum. Meals: B, L



Spend the morning at leisure to explore on your own the city’s colorful bazaars and other sites. In the afternoon, visit the Archaeological Museum, which houses important artifacts and other objects from ancient sites throughout Turkey. Also, visit the Topkapı Palace, the residence of the sultans for three centuries. Continue to the port to embark Callisto and sail in the Sea of Marmara. Meals: B, D


Tuesday, October 11 TROY

From the port of Canakkale, where we will arrive in the morning, travel to fabled Troy, which consists of nine cities superimposed in rings, on a massive mound rising above the “windswept” plain of Ilium. It was to one of these cities, between 1240 BC and 1200 BC, that the Trojan prince Paris abducted the beautiful Helen, igniting the Trojan War that was fought by Greeks and Trojans. The imposing city of King Priam, after ten years of fighting, finally fell to the Greeks on the clever ruse of Odysseus, the Trojan Horse. Meals: B, L, D

Temple of Hadrian, Ephesus


Wednesday, October 12 CLAROS & EPHESUS

Küşadası gives easy access to important ancient sites that we will explore. In the morning, drive to Claros. Settled by Greeks since at least the 10th century BC, Claros was an important sanctuary and oracular center of Apollo that became particularly popular during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. In the afternoon, tour Ephesus, one of the most prominent cities of antiquity, now a magnificent archaeological site. Founded by Greeks around 1100 BC, and renowned as the center of worship of the mother-goddess Cybele, later identified with Artemis, Ephesus flourished between 600 BC and AD 500. The city was also central to the missionary work of St. Paul, who lived here from AD 52–54, preaching Christianity. See the stunning fa ade of the Library of Celsus, the Temple of Hadrian, the large Theater, and other buildings. Excavations continue and archaeologists have restored the Terrace Houses, giving a glimpse of the daily lives of the Ephesians. Meals: B, L, D


Thursday, October 13 BODRUM

Founded by Peloponnesian Greeks, Bodrum, the ancient Halicarnassus, was the birthplace of Herodotus, the “father of history,” and the site of the Mausoleum, the grand funerary monument of Mausolus, the ruler of the city during the first half of the 4th century BC, that was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Bodrum is dominated by the Castle of St. Peter, built in the 15th century on a rocky promontory overlooking the harbor with stones from the Mausoleum. The castle houses the superb Museum of Underwater Archaeology, which features artifacts from shipwrecks excavated by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA). On a hill outside the town is INA’s Bodrum Research Center, which we will also visit and be welcomed with a cocktail reception by the Center’s archaeologists, curators and conservators. Anchored near Bodrum is Virazon II, INA’s research ship, the first to be classed as an archaeological research vessel (ARV). Meals: B, L, D

The village of Lindos on Rhodes, laid below its acropolis


Friday, October 14 RHODES

Spend the day at the Greek island of Rhodes. Inhabited since the Neolithic age, Rhodes flourished during the Classical and Hellenistic periods, when it became a powerful maritime and commercial center, founding colonies on the nearby coast of Asia Minor and and elsewhere in the Mediterranean. In the morning, tour Rhodes’ Old Town, one of the best-preserved walled medieval towns in Europe. The robust fortifications and other buildings were constructed by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, who ruled Rhodes from 1309 to 1523. It was also the Knights of St. John who built the castle of St. Peter in Bodrum. Visit the imposing Palace of the Grand Master, and walk the celebrated Street of the Knights to the Archaeological Museum. In the afternoon, drive along the island’s east coast to the village of Lindos. With its white-washed houses built below the towering ancient Acropolis, Lindos presents one of the prettiest sights in the Aegean Sea. Meals: B, L, D


Saturday, October 15 XANTHOS & ULUBURUN

From the port town of Fethiye on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, visit Xanthos, ancient Lycia’s principal city, built on a great cliff overlooking the Xanthos River and the sea beyond. Xanthos boasts significant remains, including those on the Lycian Acropolis, the Nereid Monument, an exquisite Ionic building whose figured friezes are in the British Museum, the theater, and pillar-tombs with rock-cut facades. Later in the day, Callisto will sail by Uluburun, where INA archaeologists, under the direction of the late George Bass, carried out the world-famous excavation of a Late Bronze Age ship transporting raw materials and gifts exchanged between kings and pharaohs. Meals: B, L, D



Sail into Kekova Bay, where the narrow island of Kekova, only five miles long, forms a series of beautiful bays and fjord-like waterways, which contain submerged remains of an ancient town, which we will view from the decks of local boats. Ashore, we will land at the pretty village of Kale, the site of ancient Simena, and may ascend to the medieval castle above the village. The view of Kekova from the castle is magnificent. In the afternoon, the ship will navigate near Cape Gelidonya, the place where, in 1960, George Bass, then a graduate student, directed the first ever scientific underwater excavation of an ancient shipwreck. Meals: B, L, D

DAY 10

Monday, October 17 ANTALYA / USA

Disembark in Antalya and transfer to the airport for the return flight home. Meals: B


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The 34-Guest Callisto Mega Yacht welcomes you onboard 170 feet of classic beauty, luxury, comfort and safety. Callisto invites you onboard an intimate and floating boutique hotel.

The 34-Guest Yacht Callisto

In an era of mega cruise ships that carry thousands of passengers, Callisto is a delightful alternative. More like a private yacht than a cruise ship, Callisto accommodates a maximum of just 34 guests in 17 cabins that face outside. Unlike the formalities found on larger cruise ships, a relaxed and informal atmosphere prevails aboard. A well-trained English-speaking crew of 18 manages the ship and provides friendly and efficient service. The dining room, surrounded by large windows, accommodates all guests at one unassigned seating, while the adjoining lounge, which is also lined with windows, is a good place to meet and socialize with fellow travelers, and attend lectures. When the weather permits, meals will be served al fresco. A library faces the spacious Sun Deck. The 17 cabins range in size from 130 sq. ft. to 145 sq. ft. There are four different categories of cabins arranged on two decks, all of which feature either windows (Categories A & B), or portholes (Categories C & D); twin, double, or queen-size beds; individually controlled air-conditioning; flat-screen TV; mini fridge; wardrobe; safety deposit box; and telephone (internal use). Each cabin has a private bathroom with shower, marble sink countertop, hair dryer, and fine toiletries. Callisto is equipped with stabilizers that provide smoother sailing. Download the Expedition Brochure for complete details about the 34-Guest Yacht Callisto, including Rates and Deck Plan.


For rates, yacht & cabin descriptions, and deck plan, please download the Expedition Brochure.

Savings for Solo Travelers

We are waiving the Supplement for Solo Travelers on a limited number of cabins available for single occupancy at no additional charge. Availability is very limited. Register ASAP.

Program Inclusions

  • Two nights at the historic Pera Palace Hotel, Istanbul
  • Welcome dinner in Istanbul at a local restaurant
  • Full breakfast at the hotel
  • Meals in Istanbul as indicated in the itinerary
  • Cruise aboard the Callisto, as described in the itinerary
  • All meals aboard ship, including wine, beer, and soft drinks with lunch and dinner
  • Complete program of tours and excursions and other activities ashore, with professional English-speaking guides
  • Program of lectures and discussions by Dr. Nicolle Hirschfeld and Dr. Rebecca Ingram
  • Airport/hotel/pier transfers and handling of luggage abroad
  • Open bar aboard ship throughout the voyage
  • Port, embarkation, and all other local taxes
  • Gratuities to guides, drivers and porters
  • Experienced Thalassa Journeys trip director
  • Comprehensive pre-departure material.
NOT INCLUDED: Airfare; travel insurance; expenses of a personal nature; gratuities to shipboard personnel; any items not mentioned in the Program Inclusions.


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For more information, please contact Colin Church of Thalassa Journeys by emailing [email protected] or calling 866-633-3611. Thalassa Journeys 8815 Conroy-Windermere Rd. Suite 406 Orlando, FL 32835

Eyewitness Testimony (in Skeptic Magazine 27.1: Transgender Matters)

Illustration by James Bennett


Do You See What I See?

Learn how to engage with people and accounts of extraordinary claims without evoking anger in the current issue of SKEPTIC magazine (27.1), available now in print and digital editions.

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